Climbing to the top of the District 3 2A individual wrestling tournament is a grueling task.
Consider Lancaster Catholic’s Eric Howe, whose successful foray to repeat as a district champ began with a first-round bout at 10:30 a.m. and required three more consecutive wins throughout the afternoon and evening of February 26.
Capping off a demanding day, the senior told the media that his confidence has increased this year, which might have lent to his 3-0 victory in a tightly-contested final at 120 lbs.
Success in the one-day District 3 2A tournament – held at Central Dauphin East – demands stamina, both from the eventual champions who secured three consecutive victories after earning a first-round bye, and for those who entered a non-winners bracket to grapple it out for a spot in this weekend’s regionals to qualify for states.
Lancaster Catholic, Trinity and Bishop McDevitt sent a combined eight wrestlers to the district finals in front of a packed crowd at CD East, with four emerging as champs in their respective weight classes: Howe at 120, Trinity’s Jagger Gray at 172, and McDevitt’s Kade Werner at 189, and repeat champ Riley Robell at 285.
Silver medals went to Trinity’s Major Lewis at 106 and Tucker Paynter at 189, and to McDevitt’s Andrew Christie at 152.
The gold and silver medalists will be joined by the top seven district finalists at this weekend’s South East Regionals in Bethlehem, Pa. They include Gavin Badger, Caden Droege and Ben Reigner of Lancaster Catholic; Artem Reichart and Domonic Giraffa of Delone Catholic; and Michael Beutler, Tillman Artell, Jakob Gilfoil, Anthony Glessner, Lucas Lawler and Michael Gontis of Bishop McDevitt. They’ll compete to earn a spot at the PIAA State Wrestling Championships March 10-12 in Hershey.
With districts in their rear-view mirror, the journey up the mountain continues for the competitors, as only 20 wrestlers in each weight class will earn the right to battle for state glory in two weeks.
(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness